Imagine a sales life where you could sell directly to your most valuable customers. No lost time on marketing and selling to unqualified prospects who couldn't benefit your business. That's right, you could move straight into the phases of engaging and delighting customers.
All of this is possible with account-based marketing. It combines sales and marketing within your company to boost revenue, delight customers, and grow your business.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a sales and marketing strategy that involves using highly tailored and personalized communications to target a specific company to attract new business.
With ABM, you're targeting specific businesses, not thousands of people. Even though ABM has been around for over 15 years, businesses are realizing they can offer highly tailored campaigns to their target audience.
The aim is to cultivate positive, long-lasting relationships and make the most of established accounts. However, the biggest benefit is becoming a trusted partner for your customers through a faster and efficient more sales process. Businesses that adopt the ABM strategy benefit from the improved alignment between sales and marketing, a higher ROI, and increased revenues.
What are the Biggest Benefits of Account-Based Marketing?
Develop relationships with clients to expand business
Quality over quantity has its place in account-based marketing. It saves time to engage and delight a small, carefully chosen group of high-value accounts. Companies that used ABM found that their reputations increased by 84%.
You can encourage your best advertisers, brand ambassadors, and promoters to become loyal clients by utilizing referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, testimonials, and more to spread the word about your company.
Make your business more relevant
The goal of account-based marketing is to make your business as relevant to your target accounts as possible. By showing them how to resolve their challenges with your products, programs, offers, and team members, your content and relationships will help to build their trust and loyalty.
Integrate sales and marketing
Companies benefit from cross-team collaboration and improved communication across departments. Marketers have been trained for years to create marketing campaigns for different companies and industries. Sales, however, prioritized interacting with only certain accounts likely to shop.
Sales and marketing work together towards a shared purpose when using ABM. Aligning sales and marketing departments through ABM results in an improvement of closing deals at 67% and 38% greater revenue wins.
Streamline sales processes
In addition to helping you maintain your efficiency, account-based marketing helps decrease the length of your sales cycle. ABM makes sure that your target accounts are a good fit for your company, rather than experimenting with various methods to find and qualify prospects.
The chances of converting accounts and keeping them for the long-term are greatly improved thanks to marketing and sales coordination, consistent customer reviews, and personalization.
Develop valuable customer experiences
When using ABM, you research accounts and explicitly plan campaigns for them. Each point in the customer's journey is personalized to meet the needs of the contacts and decision-makers instead of just satisfying the needs of the company.
At the time, ITSMA measured marketing ROI in 2014, and almost 85% of marketers found that ABM campaigns outperformed any of their other marketing expenditures, with 52% stating that the gap was significant.
You think that attracting more B2B leads will increase your ROI, but this isn't necessarily the case. It's more advantageous to bring in the right leads rather than more. 87% of B2B marketers have found that ABM is excellent for ROI.
Three Approaches to Account-Based Marketing
Marketers have adopted three distinct types of ABM. All require a certain level of investment and each has its own approach to finding new and existing accounts.
Here’s how they work:
One on One ABM
Marketers and distributors can employ highly targeted strategies for a limited number of accounts. They typically cover 15 accounts at this stage.
Marketing and sales work together to focus on "attributes" of accounts such as sectors, pressure points, etc. This approach covers 36 accounts in total.
Sales and marketing use this strategy to grow their client base, and they scale campaigns using marketing technology to customize outreach. This strategy has the widest variety of all with over 900 accounts.
Account-Based Marketing: How Does It Work?
Now that you understand the three approaches to ABM, you can put together your ABM strategy. This involves different phases, and attention needs to be given to the strategy, targeting strategies, content creation, and budgeting.
1. Select your team members for ABM
Make sure to include sales, marketing, and business development people in your core ABM team.
Business development representatives are critical to a successful ABM campaign. Marketing is responsible for setting up and implementing campaigns, while sales provide the follow-up necessary to turn engagements into opportunities.
2. Establish clear goals and a plan to achieve them
Think about the exact objectives you want ABM to achieve and make sure that the KPIs and priorities of all departments are aligned. Everyone needs to be on the same page if a new product or service is to be launched or a strategic acquisition is made.
Marketing and sales must be able to answer these crucial questions:
- How many accounts should sales reach out based on customer personas (more on that below)
- What kind of message would appeal to these personas?
- When can sales expect to get in touch with prospects?
3. Put money into technology
With ABM software, ABM can grow at scale, connect with prospects through digital channels, and target whole accounts, not individual leads. Technology can help you plan and execute campaigns based on past campaigns and CRM events, individuals, and their current stage during the sales funnel.
4. Find out your ideal customer profile (ICP)
Identify your ICP to create a list of your accounts. Ideal customer profiles are simple, categorical descriptions of the type of company you want to focus on. Keep in mind that your ICP is not the same as your regular customer. A customer persona is a comprehensive study of the people you target.
Without understanding the company first, there would be no way to find out your ideal customers. You can begin researching by looking through your existing client data. By seeing businesses that fit your target market, you will be able to focus your attention on the kind of business you will be conducting in the future.
5. Pick your channels
The best way to contact the most qualified accounts is to connect with them on the channels they frequent. In addition, it is also important to analyze your business's most profitable channels.
You can tailor your platforms and ABM strategies depending on how you want to approach ABM.
You focus on a greater number of accounts with a one-to-many strategy. Rather than having numerous expensive in-person events, it is probably better to spend your energy on online, personalized activities.
6. Create content
The general guideline when developing content is to keep the main message in line with the overall narrative. In order to create better content, a more comprehensive approach would be needed. Write whitepapers, guides and ads that are shorter and more relevant to specific segments. Create a library of content for personalization if you’re using a one-to-many strategy.
7. Promote your content to the right people
As soon as your carefully designed content is out, your sales team can embark on outreach. They can use traditional approaches, including email and phone calls. Marketing would still need to remain innovative when updating key messages to avoid ad fatigue during long-term campaigns.
Relevant content is important not only for lead nurturing but also for moving customers along the sales cycle. The more relevant the content, the more likely customers are to connect with you. Businesses that cultivate leads generate 50% more revenue at a cost that is 33% less than businesses that don't cultivate leads.
8. Conduct analysis and prepare a report
If you want to evaluate your performance as a result of ABM, you need an empirical approach in order to gather data that can be used to create a better customer experience.
For performance measurement, you need to look at broader metrics such as awareness, engagement, relationships, and ROI. Look at the length of the sales period, deal size and overall revenue from the new transactions to evaluate the impact of the campaign. Persuading management that ABM is necessary for new business generation is a sure-fire way to convince them.
What Are Some Examples of Account-Based Marketing?
The strategy you employ to target a particular customer depends on the account’s unique characteristics, meaningful segments, and related marketing platforms. Your ABM program will be targeted at the target segments that offer the greatest value. Different companies will employ different strategies.
These examples show how account-based marketing programs can be used:
Sales departments have always relied on face-to-face contact to gain the confidence of top decision-makers. An ABM strategy around events involves customized packages to target prospects, VIP dinners, and personal presents and coupons for target accounts.
The webinars and follow-ups can be tailored to a particular account, like events. Exclusive webinar content can be produced for the intended audience, while webinars can be tailored to specific business needs.
A lot of people these days are inundated with email, so direct mail is becoming an increasingly common way to reach prospects within a company. Gifts and marketing materials may be of greater benefit as ABM is much more targeted, which means there is much more revenue opportunity.
Cold Email Campaigns
ABM still relies heavily on email for marketing. Account-based marketing requires personalizing emails for every business and customer. You could use templates and marketing automation with a volume-based marketing strategy.
Pay-per-click (PPC) and social media advertising are common ways of reaching target accounts. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to target specific businesses and individuals, and advertisers can narrow down their reach using IP targeting and retargeting.
Personalized website experiences can provide a more unique, targeted user experience than the default website for target prospects.
Growing Your Business with Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing doesn't have to be daunting. ABM can help the marketing and sales departments to significantly increase their numbers.
You can discover qualified accounts quickly, reduce wasted time and resources, and grow faster if you follow an ABM plan that incorporates the strengths of your sales, marketing, and business development teams.